At this time in the history of the world, the need for energy is at its peak. With the diminishing non-renewable energy resources and the constantly increasing demand for energy, renewable energy is the solution. With that in mind, United International University (UIU) held the International Conference on Developments in Renewable Energy Technology (ICDRET) 2014 at the university campus in Dhanmondi, Dhaka from May 29 to 31, 2014. This was the third time that the university held this conference.
The inaugural ceremony of ICDRET 2014 was held on May 29. The Chief Guest for this occasion was Professor Dr. A.K. Azad Chowdhury, Chairman (State Minister), University Grants Commission of Bangladesh. Chair of the Organising Committee, Professor M. Rezwan Khan, Vice Chancellor of UIU presided over the programme. Professor A.K.M. Sadrul Islam and Professor Md. Fayyaz Khan were present alongside others. The inauguration was followed by presentation of invited papers in two plenary sessions.
The UGC chairman said that our nation needs more research on renewable energy to make it a viable option for all and that a conference of such international stature helps to promote local innovations.
Expressing his gratitude to all parties involved in ICDRET, Professor M. Rezwan Khan, Vice Chancellor, UIU said, “The level of interest in renewable energy has been very clearly indicated by the participation of 12 national and international companies.” He believes that these conferences are a forum for exchanging ideas and research outcomes between nations, and allows practitioners of renewable energy at grassroots level to share their experiences with academicians and researchers.
Shahriar Ahmed Chowdhury, Director, Centre for Energy Research, UIU and Co-Chair of Organising Committee of ICDRET 2014, who has first-hand experience in many renewable energy projects in Kaptai, Hatiya, etc., remarked, “In order for Bangladesh to attain its renewable energy target, the policy-makers, industry leaders and academia of the country must work together. We have started this bi-yearly conference to facilitate this coordinated effort.” He added that fall in prices of solar photovoltaic panels and other such technologies have rekindled hope for their widespread usage throughout the world.
He also informed that UIU has established the Center for Energy Research for researchers working on sustainable and renewable energy, and has also developed solar rickshaw and ferry boats, which were displayed at the university's entrance.
Two workshops led up to ICDRET '14 as side events. On May 27, a workshop, titled “Innovation in Technologies and Delivery Models for Solar Rural Electrification in Bangladesh”, was held by Centre for Energy Research (CER) of UIU in association with Micro Energy International. This side event addressed issues such as how to increase the development impact of rural solar electrification programmes; the business models that enable remote, poor areas with standard quality Solar Home Systems (SHS); and the challenges associated with the new delivery models. The second workshop, called “Green Mini-grid Development in South Asia”, was held on May 28, presented by OASYS South Asia and CER (UIU). Mini-grids are isolated, low voltage distribution grids that provide electricity to small communities. The objectives of this workshop were to examine the challenges in implementation of green mini-grids in rural areas, and to find solutions to those.
History of Icdret
The side-effects of global warming have caused more researchers to pursue renewable energy. With increasing awareness of the importance of renewable energy, UIU organised ICDRET in 2009 for the first time to discuss the implementation and dissemination of renewable energy. Following the success of the event, the organisers decided to bring back ICDRET in 2012, by when the falling prices of Solar PV panels had indicated that renewable energy is a viable option, economically. ICDRET became a bi-yearly event, and was held for the third time this year. It was originally scheduled for January 2014, but had to be rescheduled due to unavoidable circumstances. The conference was well-attended by many new practitioners who had been beguiled by the success of the previous ICDRET events.
For this year's ICDRET, the organising committee received over 150 papers by researchers from 11 countries. After rigorous reviews, the Technical Committee -- chaired by Professor A.K.M. Sadrul Islam, Islamic University of Technology, and co-chaired by Professor Md. Fayyaz Khan, UIU -- selected 92 papers for presentation at the conference. The papers presented by their authors on May 30-31 showcased a vast spectrum of research and discussion on renewable energy technology, including, but not limited to, PV technology and applications, biomass and biogas, mini and micro grid systems, hybrid systems, hydropower, control and circuit, wind, wave and tide etc. The economic factors were also considered at the sessions. Three sessions were run simultaneously, and each was presided by a Session Chair, who is an expert in that area of research. Moreover, it was announced that all the conference papers would be published in the IEEE Xplore digital library, thus allowing global exposure for the participants.
The conference concluded with the Professor Muhammad Harunur Rashid Paper awards. The 2nd Best Paper title was jointly awarded to Mohammed Haque for “Estimation of Annual Energy Delivered by a Variable Speed Wind Generating System Using Historical Wind Data” and Marzia Hoque Tania & Md. Samiul Alam for “Sun Tracking Schemes for Photovoltaic Panels”. For the Best Paper, there was again a tie, and so it was jointly awarded to Mitavachan Hiremath, Christian Vansomeren, Johnmary Migadde, Mohamed Abdelrazik, Samuel Goda & Hans Holtorf for their paper “Living in Harmony: Designing a multi-functional educational facility that has positive sustainable impact on Environment & Society”, and to M.K.M. Rahman for the paper “Maximum Power Point Tracking Using Artificial Intelligence”.
Dr. Peter Boait, Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development of De Montfort University (UK), believed that he learned a lot at ICDRET. “The facilities were great and the technologies discussed were promising,” he informed. “I hope the next ICDRET will be even better and will stick to the original dates.”
Organised by United International University, ICDRET 2014 was co-organised by TERI (India), Micro Energy International (Germany), Berkeley Rural Energy Group, and Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley (USA) alongside partners Oldenburg University (Germany), Kathmandu University (Nepal), Center for Energy and the Global Environment (Virginia Tech, USA). The technical co-sponsors of the event were IEEE and IEEE Power & Energy Society. UPGD, Rahimafrooz Solar, International Finance Corporation, GIZ, IDCOL, SunEdison Electro and The Daily Star cooperated to make the event a success. Moreover, the event was supported by Solaric, Solarland, Hamko Battery, Navana Power, BGEF, Innovation Technologies Ltd., Panna Battery Limited, Fosera, Rimso Foundation, Gaston battery, Schneider Electric and B-Trac Engineering.
Renewable energy at present is blooming; more people in different parts of the world prefer it over the traditional non-renewable sources. Yet, it has a huge room for development and improvement. International Conference on Developments in Renewable Energy Technology (ICDRET) 2014 was a significant initiative that put researchers under the same roof for exchanging ideas and holding discussions on the improvement of the various technologies related to renewable energy, which may soon be ready for large scale implementation. Such a bold step is not only desirable, but necessary as well. A big shout out to United International University and all related parties who made ICDRET 2014 possible and successful. Here's hoping that the ideas presented at the conference will be ready for implementation in the near future, thus mitigating the energy crisis.